Beginning Homeschooling?

So I know learning is a life-long process, and good mommies teach their children 24/7, right?  But I had been kind of tentatively planning to do “formal school” when E is three, which is still a day very, very far away.

I’ve been rethinking, partly because I’ve been reading a great deal about homeschooling in a large family (i.e. teaching in a one-room schoolhouse!) and have coincidentally stumbled onto various suggestions for “what do I do with my toddler while the big kids are schooling?”  And also because I am precisely NOT the sort of person who gets specific things done unless I actually plan to accomplish specific things: I need to be reminded.

I think it would be good, for me, for E, for our little family unit, to begin some sort of formal school now.  I’m thinking I’ll try to fit it in before our naptime–I’ve been finishing the day’s chores early lately, and also been more fatigued and wanting to sit down, so it will be a good, calm time for us–and drag the kids up to the nursery, which has lots of books and not too many other distractions, and probably mostly read books, since E isn’t even two-and-a-half yet.  But I’ll try to get her to sit still and listen and look along, and begin to gently teach R to sit still.  I want both of them to become accustomed to the idea of a structured, disciplined time where they do activities Mommy chooses instead of whatever their little hearts please.  Once we get the hang of it, these are the activities I have planned:

  • books–read-aloud picture books, but also working in some longer/fewer-picture “listen” books
  • alphabet books–a little Baby Einstein set of 26 books, one per letter; I’m going to try to do one of these every day
  • word flashcards, homemade (for variety and personalization, but also because I can’t find any in stores without pictures!)
  • premade flashcards: Same/Different; Shapes & Colors; Alphabet; Numbers
  • a Pre-K3 Reading workbook
  • a Pre-K3 Math workbook
  • focused drawing
  • counting–I have little rubber blocks, but I’m also thinking other things would work quite well
  • some activities from The Toddlers Busy Book, which is the best toddler-oriented game/learning book I’ve come upon yet

I am presently thinking to do one reading book, one alphabet book, and one of the other activities every day.  It’s kind of hard to think of activities that a toddler can do that are more “learning” than “play.”  I’m not sure how long it will take her to learn the alphabet–she already knows quite a few by sight, and can say most of them in a row–but once she gets that, we’ll move on to phonics.  I’ve noticed that a lot of “Pre-K” books require more hand coordination (drawing, tracing, circling, coloring) than E has yet, so once she grows in that area, that will be an easy route to continue down as well, because already she could grasp many of the activities, if she had the manual dexterity.  I’m hoping the Pre-K3 workbooks help her move in that direction!

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